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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 21, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EST

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good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, escape from santorum. who gave rick santorum a weekend pass from the 21st century? did you hear this guy? he doesn't like public schools and the alternative is he doesn't like prenatal care. he thinks environmentalism is a false theology. and what dr. santorum is intelligent design? he thinks president obama is this guy over in europe in the 1930s. in one weekend spree, this front-running republican candidate for president was out blasting it all.
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schools, science, caring for the environment. doing that bad old number of comparing his opponent to adolf hitler. how many wild things can you say before people think you're the wild thing? or suddenly think tame old mitt romney may not be so bad. plus shouts and whispers. republicans are saying out loud what was once unthinkable. that mitt romney might lose michigan and leave santorum as the likely nominee. the whispers of drafting another candidate at the tampa convention is getting louder. for president obama, poll numbers are rising. the bad news, so are gas prices. could this be the issue republicans are looking for. and art imitates art. the first family as characters in the old "cosby show." if you missed it on "saturday night live" this weekend, we have it in the sideshow. finally, what happened 50 years ago that got us headed to the moon? we begin with rick santorum. mark halperin and susan million here with me. she writed for u.s. news and world report.
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here's rick santorum speaking at the christian alliance luncheon in ohio on saturday. certainly he knew his audience there. he criticized prenatal testing and the public education system in this country. let's listen. >> they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in america. why? because it saves money. why? because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and, therefore, less care that has to be done. because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society. where did they come up with public education and education bureaucracies? it was the rule in america. the idea the federal government should be running schools, much less that the state government should be running schools is anachronistic. >> you know, mark halperin, they say the media is shifting the
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attention away from the economy to these crazy questions. there he is, rick santorum, you could argue is the front runner for the nomination of the republican party pushing these issues sharp as nails. he wants a fight. >> chris, when he does that, the media thinks three things about him. he's unelectable, extreme and out of touch, and incompetent. those things are going to hurt him with the national media narrative. at the same time, he's talking about issues that make the impossible for mitt romney to attack him. and emphasizes the passion he has on the issues he cares about. i talked to a seen aide who said they're not backing off any of it. he means it all. the press is the only one who cares. they may be right or wrong. this is rick santorum, not some fabrication. >> susan, this is an argument. we know he believe it is. but the fact he home schools his kids, fair enough. he doesn't think public schools are any good.
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that's an incredible statement. public schools as an institution he thinks are wrong. prenatal testing, it's a controversial question. obviously, there are people who choose abortions after prenatal testing, but to bring up questions like this in a presidential campaign he knows are red hot. he's appealing to the right. >> he is. i think he knows the one way to beat mitt romney is to whip up that part of the party that's never been satisfied with romney as a social conservative. he's not saying anything more out there than he ever said in the united states senate. >> you covered him? >> yes. i remember when he said that the catholic church sex abuse scandal was a result of the liberalism in massachusetts and the environment that it created. he said it, and then we went back at it again, and he didn't back off from that either. he's not moving to the right. he is this way. >> do you buy the fact he's doing this deliberately? he's saying what he knows. he knows it's tricky business. but he's going, as mark says, where mitt romney can't follow him? >> i think that's absolutely
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true because he's not trying to win the approval of the national media or even right now the independents in this country. he's trying to get the nomination. he knows romney has shaky credibility with social conservatives to begin with. when he goes this far to the right on it and so passionate about it too. >> people watching right now are progressives and independents. some moderate republicans watching and even some conservatives watching. pay attention. this is not gotcha journalism. we're trying to track what a guy is saying. he knows he's being listened to by the people he wants to win over in this primary in michigan. here he is at a tea party rally on saturday. romney criticized president obama's energy policy. what he says putting concerns about the planet above the comfort of people. let's watch this philosophical argument he's making. this is what the president's
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agenda -- it's not about you. it's not about you. it's not about your quality of life. it's not about your jobs. it's about some phony ideal. phony theology. not a theology based on the bible, but a different theology, but no less a theology. >> i couldn't disagree with him more on this stuff. here's today santorum trying to explain his use of the word theology. blasting president obama for having a phony theology. let's listen. >> i referred to it the other day and i got criticized by some of our less than arodyte members of the press corps who have a difficulty understanding when you refer to someone's ideology. >> mark, the question he just changed the word right there. theology is a wild word. but basically, his argument is to say if you care about this planet and concerned about scientific theories about global warming, if you worry about getting rid of -- just using up our resources on this planet, wearing out the planet, you are not being a christian.
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i would say that caring about the planet that god created would be a christian or judeo christian belief. part of our system of belief. what are your thoughts? >> i'm not here to advocate for rick santorum, but the way you characterize it probably goes a notch or two further. at least he intends. look. you said for months rt of the what the republican nomination fight is about who can be the most anti-obama. who can have the most energy. who can impugn his legitimacy and his hold on the office most emotionally and passionately. that's what rick santorum is doing. as susan said, if you had been with him last year and the year before that, this is the way he would have talked. it's getting more attention now. he's undisciplined as a candidate. he's got a lot of skills and strengths as a candidate. but he says stuff he shouldn't say. as i said before, his advisors don't think this falls into that category.
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but i don't think if he wants to be president of the united states this is sustainable lines. including on the environment. >> you think he crossed the line on the environment? >> if he wants to be -- >> if there are any -- certainly conservation is a policy bought by both political parties. we have to preserve our planet. people walk into the grand canyon and say man can have a trail here or there, but don't screw this up. he says that's a false theology. to worship beautiful things that even niagara falls, things part of our wonder. he thinks we should put below us in the food chain kind of idea. >> remember that his party on the hill when they took control of the house in 1995 changed the name of the energy and environment committee to energy and natural resources to send a signal this isn't something for us to protect, but something to use. and there is. i have heard that religious argument that we're all here on this earth for however long god wants us here and we're here to use the earth. i don't hear that from a lot of people.
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>> if he's saying that, let me give a sermonette here. you say i'm overstating this, mark. but how long would there be a central park in new york if you opened it to development? there wouldn't be a central park. trump and everybody would be competing. zuckerman would be developing that area. there wouldn't be a tree left. maybe a couple trees outside your window for effect. if you opened up this country to development, the reason we protected our environment is a way to keep it away from capitalists. is he saying capitalism should trump natural beauty, the environment, our national forests, our national -- actually monuments to god's creation if you will? mark? how far do you see him going? >> i think he was more making a statement about the president's view of the environment and it's a place that should play in our society. we don't disagree about this. if you're david axelrod, you're saying would i rather run against the guy from bain capital with investments in the cayman islands in switzerland or the guy now leaving a longer and
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longer video trail and paper trail of statements about birth control, the environment. i mean, both of these guys are flawed candidates. and santorum is maybe helping himself with parts of the party. he's killing himself with the press and fat cat donors and the sharpies in washington that want somebody who is electable in a general election. >> i would say teddy roosevelt is so far to this guy's left. it's unbelievable. here's what he said speaking at the georgia church last night. santorum comparing the late entry of the united states into the fight in germany in '41 to what's at stake in this election. he describes why the united states was late to engage. let's listen. >> we're a hopeful people. we think, well, you know, it will get better. he's a nice guy. it won't be near as bad as what we think. this will be okay. oh, yeah, maybe he's not the best guy. after awhile you found out some
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things about this guy over in europe and he's not so good of a guy after all. sometimes it's not okay. >> i don't know who said he was a nice guy. we're talking about hitler here. anyway, today, santorum explained his comments saying it's a world war ii metaphor, one i've used 100 times. when asked if he was comparing the president to hitler, he said no. but what was he doing? >> i think he was putting this election in a -- >> if we don't stop this president from being considered a socialist, we think he's a nice guy socialist, he will end up being a dictator socialist. >> yes. he's trying to put this election in apocalyptic terms. and almost religious apocalyptic terms. but i think also what we're seeing here is while romney is this incredibly scripted candidate, and that's not working for him, santorum is incredibly unscripted. >> we're choosing here if you're a republican voting on the 28th, which is now about eight days from now, it looks like this is tightening up in michigan to practically even now.
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is there any way -- i think romney could easily win this based on his trends and some of the polls. but is this about a guy who can't talk and a guy who talks too much? >> that's one way to frame it, but it's also about a guy who is spending a lot more money on negative ads. romney has some advantages here. but look. the metaphor he used, we all agree, nazi metaphors shouldn't be part of politics. >> sure. >> but at the same time, there are tens of millions of people in this country who think the president's illegitimate and is destroying america. that's who is voting in these contests. i don't think santorum should use language like this, but he is trying to tap into something. which is the urgency that a lot of people have on the republican and conservative side, to get rid of the president. romney doesn't tap into that as well. if he loses michigan, that will be the reason as much as anything else. >> so it's not gotcha
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journalism, it's just god-fearing, right winged politics. >> you have to give him points for being who he is. >> don't think rick santorum is an idiot. just consider him a right-wing ideologue who is going to say what he is. we're not used to that anymore. politicians who say what they are even when they are so far right that it scares people. thank you mark halperin and susan milligan. coming up, if romney loses, will we get a brokered convention? we have a draft for jeb bush. if it keeps going crazy, the voters in the republican party may just say, this is chaos. the grown-ups have got to take over. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. but your erectile dysfunction -- that could be a question of blood flow. cialis for daily use helps you be ready
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on super tuesday. that's march 6th. we have new numbers from super tuesday in the "hardball" score board. in oklahoma, it's rick santorum with a 16-point lead. over mitt romney in a new sooner poll, 39% to 23%. newt gingrich is a close third at 18%. in massachusetts where romney was governor, he has a 48-point lead over santorum. 48-point in a new suffolk poll. massachusetts is one home state romney shouldn't have a problem winning in the primary. but the home state love doesn't extend to november. president obama has a big lead over romney. 53% to 39%. that could help elizabeth warren, the presumed democratic nominee in the senate race. we'll be right back. i'm done. i'm gonna read one of these. i'm gonna read one of these! [ female announcer ] unlike sprays and dust rags, swiffer 360 duster's extender gets into hard-to-reach places without the hassle. so you can get unbelievable dust pickup in less time
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welcome back to "hardball." the fear amongst republicans that mitt romney's campaign might self-destruct is growing as he trails rick santorum in every michigan poll right now. there's even talk in republican circles of a broke en n convention.
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most party veterans will think romney will get nomination. but it's not difficult to find concern about his general election prospects and anxiety about the potentially chronic nature of the rest of the primary. the chaotic nature of the rest of the primary. michael steele is the chairman of the republican national committee. walter, your column grabbed me today. this whole idea that you chalk it up to mitt romney, who is a bit structured in his manner and rather unspontaneous, you said it was like a business school case study at harvard b school. tell me about that. the way he's looking at this campaign. >> the whole thing about mitt romney is he's doing everything technically right. and the problem is he is still losing to a ragtag opposition. no one took rick santorum seriously as a first tier presidential candidate. and newt gingrich who beat him in south carolina handedly was
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like the harold stassen of 2012. and yet mitt can't put them away. imagine if he was up against a real opponent. >> let me go to michael steele. this whole question, do you hear it among your colleagues of talk of some kind of -- i was thinking back in history 50 years ago. 1952. the last time a convention really picked somebody who hospital -- hadn't run was adelaide stevenson. he refused to run. the party people said he had to run. he wouldn't run. when it came time for the convention in chicago, he gave a barn burner of a host speech. he gave this great speech and he got the nomination. is that still possible in your party that a guy or woman could go up and give a speech
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welcoming the convention so well they nominate him or her? >> it can't. i was one of the first out there to raise about a 50/50 proposition of a brokered convention. and my point was not so much about the convention being brokered where some third party is going to come in and be the knight on a shining horse coming in the door at the end, but more about a contested convention. you have at least three of the four of the individuals walking into the convention, 400 votes short or 300 votes shy of what they need for the nomination. and then the contest begins negotiating with one or the other to get the votes you need from the delegates so you can pull out the nomination. that's very likely. particularly, if you see it in michigan, romney losing michigan, it sends a very strong signal out there about not just electability, but about credibility.
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and i think newt asked the right question. how does mitt go to his donors the next morning and say, hey, i'm your guy. give me more money. everything becomes different. it's a game changer should that happen. >> so it's michigan next week. it's the big one. >> absolutely. what happens is you're looking at then jockeying for the strongest position to make the best argument to get the most delegates once you get to tampa. >> let's look at the new numbers coming in. in michigan, the ppp robo poll has romney gaining from last week's poll which was probably an outlier. now santorum still on top, 37% to romney's 33%. in arizona, what was thought of in arizona, what was thought of as a romney stronghold because of the large mormon population down there, romney has just a three-point lead over rick santorum. 36% to 33%. let me go to walter on this. the idea that santorum could be doing so well reminds me of buchanan where you can run well in one state. and all of a sudden be running well all across the country.
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this is a nationalized political environment we're in right now. everyone voting in these primaries is watching shows like these and on fox because the politically interested people are the ones making the decisions, not the regular public. walter, do you see anything that gets in the way now of romney being the nominee? every time i sit down, they say it will be romney. it may be dirty, it may be jagged but he'll be the nominee in the worst, bloody way. is that inevitable? >> i don't think it's inevitable at all. because of things called voters. the nationalization is not new. gary hart went from nowhere to leading many national polls after he won the new hampshire primary in 1984. of course, we long for an open convention because if it gets to the convention there are no brokers left. and i would love to see a second ballot. but as you point out in your
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the convention there are no brokers left. and i would love to see a second ballot. but as you point out in your book, in 1956, oliver won the vice presidential nomination over kennedy because the convention chairman decided to recognize oklahoma instead of illinois. i'm not sure that lack of democracy would play well for a political party on national television when we're totally unused to the deal making at the national convention. >> back to the former chairman. is there a chance because of romney's poor performance if it continues that you'll have something like a democratic process in tamp, where people come and get released by the second ballot and actually make a decision about who the nominee should be in that room? >> yeah. i think that's very likely. if coming out of next week and super tuesday, the combination of those two, you don't have someone with -- showing the wind in their sails, pushing towards that magic number of 1,100 votes, yeah, you could have a situation -- >> what's more likely. gingrich and paul and santorum all ganging up on romney? or romney buying one of the
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three guys off with the vice presidency. >> i don't see any of those three getting bought off at this point. this goes back to the 2008 campaign. the romney operation has a way of poisoning the candidates so badly that they don't want to work with them and cooperate with them. >> you're telling me something here. >> and so there's always this, you know, thing that sticks in their craw about him. i don't see them jumping up and down saying i want to be on mitt's team, particularly after this battle. particularly someone like newt. i don't see that happening. >> same question to you, walter. they all gang up and agree on one of the three being the nominee rather than giving it to mitt? >> let me try another scenario. if mitt can't put away santorum or gingrich makes a great jack-in-the-box comeback -- and this year anything is possible -- and they look like political disasters in november, will there be pressure by the republican establishment for romney to get out of the race and release his delegates to a jeb bush, mitch daniels or chris christie and resolve this thing
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in may and june with a replacement establishment candidate for romney? that's a small chance. but i think it's possible. >> fall on his sword for the party? michael is laughing at the thought of such generosity. no generosity like that. >> walter iloved your piece today but that scenario is not happening. >> these guys who come in first like to stay in first. anyway, thank you, michael steele. thank you, walter. great to see your piece today. up next, mitt romney infamously strapped his dog to the roof on his car for a family vacation. he had it in a dog house, by the way. but rick santorum has a dog story of his own. that's ahead in the sideshow. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. it's time to get going.
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back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. step away from the sandwich. the first family went cosby on "snl" with each member of the family slipping into their alter egos from "the cosby show." even joe biden was represented. the president found himself in
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the dog house after fashioning a sandwich that didn't quite pass muster with mrs. obama. let's watch. >> i hereby approve this hoagie for eating. but first, some amendments. we're going to add a little salami to the hoagie. i also hereby veto the rice cakes that michelle said were healthier than the hoagie. here we go. i also hereby veto the rice cakes that michelle said were healthier than the hoagie. here we go. >> hi, barack. my meeting was cancelled. >> she's home. my beautiful wife is home. >> barack obama, is that a hoagie? foods like that lead to obesity and you know that you are to never, never, ever, ever, eat them. >> i know. i just found it here. i think one of the children must have made it.
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>> that's a great version. ever since the let's move initiative hit the ground running. have come to see the first lady as some kind of junk food cop. next up, reliving embarrassing campaign moments. this isn't the most popular strategies for a candidate, but rick santorum gave it a try with a tale involving a dog. here's when a woman invited him in for a water break while he did some door to door campaigning back in the '90s. >> she hands me the glass of water. the dog jumps up and hops in my lap. the next thing i know, there's a warm sensation on my lap. i jump up and on my tan pants is a huge wet spot where you don't want a huge wet spot. undeterred, i soldiered on. anybody remember the closer for the 1979 world champion pittsburgh pirates? kent tekulve. correct. that's kent's house next door. and i said, hi, i'm rick
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santorum. i'm running for congress. and he does this. i say to him, mr. tekulve, i'm so excited to meet you. >> santorum said he told the story to show the audience that he's walked the path you've walked. would that be a different path than the one romney took when he strapped his dog in the kennel on the roof of his car for a family road trip up to montreal? finally, excitement is ramping up as baseball season approaches. but the washington nationals got things under way with another crucial part of their team spirit this past weekend. the mascots. if you haven't seen them before, the figure heads are fittingly the four presidents featured at mt. rushmore. washington lincoln, jefferson and teddy roosevelt. and saturday brought the last round of tryouts for mascot wannabes. their requirements?
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handling the 45-pound costume, not to mention clocking a 40-second run from center field to home plate. and even freestyle dancing is included. it's now a tradition for the mascots to race against each other at the end of the fourth inning. not all the contenders had the balancing act down. one potential lincoln lost his footing before making it across the finish line. and not an easy feat. up next -- gasoline prices are up, way up. and republicans think they have their issue to use against president obama. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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welcome back to "hardball." president obama might be thankful for the lowered unemployment rate. and the rising stock market, of course. the dow has been way up. but there's one troubling number that still faces americans. that's the rising cost of gasoline at the pump. a national average has it at $3.57 for regular. that's up 18 cents from last month. up 40 cents from a year ago. it's higher in different places like here in washington.
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it was a fortune for me the other day. also in l.a., it's a fortune. republicans see this as a winning issue for the november elections. but is this something you can argue about as an obama failure? is it his fault? daniel yergin is a great expert on energy and author of "the quest." energy, security and the remaking of the modern world. and krista free dlt lance, editor at reuters. daniel, great to have you on. why are gas prices going so high now? i paid 75 to fill my car with super the other day. why going up so fast? >> it's about iran threatening to close off the supply of oil. and both the u.s. is putting sanctions on the central bank. so there's a sense that all of this is intensifying. that means there may be problems in the supply of oil. >> why does a fear of a shortage of oil down the road drive
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prices up now? >> it's because people are in the market now getting ready to -- preparing themselves. nobody wants to be caught short of oil. >> so they are buying as many oil futures as they can? >> not just big oil. everybody. airlines are doing it. >> so they are buying it now because they don't want to be cut short. >> right. >> krista, your sense of this. i'm just a pedestrian political guy here but i want to know one thing. where is the price of gasoline going to be during this summer when people travel. i always thr goes up in the summer because of demand of vacationers, of families getting on the road. >> that tends to happen, although with the brilliant dan yergin i'm not going to forecast the price of oil. this is tactically a smart issue for the republicans to be focusing on because as you pointed out earlier in this show, chris, the culture wars have gone so far to the right in the republican party that in the general election, i think that kind of a focus could really
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kill them. they will have to try to find a way to return to the economic debate. but with economic numbers looking a little bit better, it's hard to find something to peg that on. so the oil price could be the issue. if they are smart, they will raise the keystone pipeline. >> as don rumsfeld, the late, i'm not going to say great, secretary of defense said, you fight the war with the army you have. their army is gas prices. here's yesterday on fox news. newt gingrich, who always knows how to exploit an issue, pledged to drive down gas prices under his leadership. let's listen to him. >> what i can guarantee you is, the obama program is higher prices, more dependency in the middle east, more vulnerability to saudi arabia and iraq and iran. now can we get to $2.50? can we get to $2?
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it was $1.13 when i was speaker. it was $1.89 when obama was sworn in. $2.50 is not an inconceivable number except in the washington establishment. it can be done. >> his boogeyman is us. the washington establishment because he's getting his keister handed to him. is there anything he said that's true? >> i think it's mainly -- if he can change the outcome in the middle east. if anybody can solve the iranian problem short of the attention that's around it now, then we'd see prices lower. on top of what's happened with iran, the world oil market is kind of tight in terms of other supplies so if you just talk about an embargo of iranian supplies and making it harder to sell it -- >> these same characters -- crist athese same characters like newt gingrich saying he's going to solve the whole thing overnight are also saying let's bomb iran tomorrow morning. the minute you bomb iran, whether it's good policy or not
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you have to calculate a lot of factors. iran will have a reaction. that reaction is not going to be cheaper gas for the west. >> absolutely. i totally agree that the main thing driving the price of oil is uncertainty around iran. if that war -- if that conflict gets hotter, then the oil price will go up very significantly. i wonder to what extent that is figuring into the white house calculations on that issue. >> you mean if we bomb or encourage israelis to bomb, not that they need a lot of it, they have a reaction over there. cut off the strait of hormuz. the gulf becomes a log jam and then what happens? >> and in fact, the iranians know if they threaten to close the strait or have the large military maneuvers, the price of oil goes up because people get nervous. >> so what do we do? if you were president of the united states, dan, what would you do to keep prices down. total political machiavellian. >> i think the options are quite limited in what you can do. you can jaw bone. you can tell people don't gouge. >> i'm going to say open the pumps. >> the saudis have said this -- they'll say, we'll meet the needs of our customers.
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and the saudis have just enough extra oil to put in the market that could replace iran. saudi arabia is also in the persian gulf, however. >> it's hard to deal with that to get the oil to us even if they wanted to. >> could we go to the saudis and say, prince, can you reduce the price of gas? >> you can say can you put more oil in the market to reduce the price. i wouldn't be surprised if those conversations are already going on. >> thank you, daniel. the brilliant author "the quest." i notice how differential you are to someone that happens to be an expert on this issue. >> i love dan. >> it's mutual. >> i don't care about your emotions. >> thank you. please come back. next what will bill clinton do to help president obama win? it's huge. he's going to bring in the vote
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this president needs. this is "hardball" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] what if an entire car insurance company was thought up and built and run to save people money? what if that company was born online, with tools and apps to make people feel like geniuses? and what if that company was now backed by the stability and reliability of allstate? well, what if that company was esurance and this wasn't just a bunch of hypothetical questions? could be cool-ish. esurance. insurance for the modern world.
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click or call. final county in maine held their caucus this weekend. despite a big turnout for ron paul it doesn't seem to be enough to overtake mitt romney up there. the results gave ron paul 163 votes. romney 80. santorum 57. gingrich won 4. that leaves romney with the overall lead of 156 votes. we'll be right back.
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we're back. it's been over ten years since bill clinton left the white house. he remains one of the most fascinating political figures in the world. in a documentary on that recently. over the next two nights, pbs will air an american experience doc examining the former president from his humble beginnings in hope, arkansas, to his time in the presidency. here's the trailer for "clinton." >> in his teen years, lots of people were saying they expected bill clinton to be president some day. >> they hated his guts and they'd go to the ends of the earth to destroy him.
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>> what a skwaundering of talent and possibility. >> tonight has made bill clinton the comeback kid. >> a definitive look at the man and the president. "clinton." >> that comeback was before the problem. anyway, joining me to talk about former president bill clinton, about him -- or actually current historian doug brinkley and "the washington post's" eugene robinson who is also an msnbc political analyst. i want to start with gene on this. covering politics on this. you look ahead to spring and summer, as the democrats come alive and when obama starts hitting on all the pins, all the pistons start popping, what role does bill clinton play in that? >> well, bill clinton can be an emissary to democrats in places like pennsylvania and ohio and places that the president really wants to win. maybe he's a little soft among traditional democrats. >> older, whiter? >> older, whiter, more blue collar, more -- clinton has that sensibility. obama doesn't. obama didn't do that badly among voters last time.
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>> those who cling to their guns and religion as obama said out in san francisco, they like bill clinton better. >> right. bill clinton, he has the -- he has that touch. >> yeah, i agree with that. i don't know how you improve on that, doug. he has that touch they're looking for in the presidency right now. >> he's going to be the super envoy. he's going to do an incredible job. bill clinton has really become a folk figure in america. he's more like babe ruth or buffalo bill than a politician. and just going as eugene said to college campuses, imagine in pennsylvania and ohio. or even at the convention just being standing there with barack obama. he has a very high public approval rating, bill clinton, and his post-presidency has been quite remarkable. you still have his wife hillary clinton as secretary of state. so the clintons are very important. they remind people of what a good economy was when the democrats had eight years. >> so well said. so well said. so we're talking about the past,
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the present and the future. the past looks damn good. great unemployment numbers. a growth. the eyeball. everything was great, right? in fact, when the republicans say restoration, they really mean go back to this guy. not back to w. nobody wants to go back to w. let's talk about the president. fantastic work around the world. let's talk about future. incipient, when you look at bill clinton and secretary clinton you don't see the past but the future. what role does the potential of hillary clinton as secretary of state to retire for a year or two and head for the presidency play in the present? >> i think she still has the opportunity, if she wants, and i frankly i think that is an if. some people don't think it's an if. they think it's when. if she wants, she still is such a prominent democrat, well-known figure, done a good job as secretary of state, she is hillary clinton, and so, in four years, she has the potential there for her. >> let's go to doug and do prospecting, if she decides to go out there and take a year, she wouldn't want to take a
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year or two before the election, who would be her opponent? who would challenge her for the nomination, andrew cuomo, but who would have a chance to beat her, given how much she has established politically and professionally. >> evan bayh playing the midwest if the democrats lose in the midwest in 2012, but when she leaves, if she leaves and i would say probably march of 2013, if obama got reelected she would write a memoir, number one book, great deal of money, rest up, she needs the rest. she has done a lot of world travel, and she will be on everybody's top of the list for running in 2016. she has been an extraordinarily effective secretary of state. >> i think so. >> let me ask you about politics, tie it together.
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politics, tie it together. what does bill clinton want from obama barack obama is there an interlock? >> what i think he wants is props, first of all. this is bill clinton -- >> what is props? >> barack obama when he was running he wanted to go beyond bill clinton. >> like ronald reagan. >> he wants more respect. >> he wants more respect and he will get it from obama. >> do you think there is a deal -- we don't know when the president decided to name hillary clinton at the time, we don't know how it worked out it did. doug, do we know how that work and what may be part of the future transition politically here? >> well, i was going to say, remember the mistake that barack obama could place if he tries to distance himself from bill clinton, because al gore did that in 2000, wasn't a smart idea. the rap against obama this
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summer will be he's a jimmy carter 1980 president, double digit inflation, problem in iran. instead when you have clinton it's the constant jobs, jobs, jobs reminder, the economy was better under the democrats and does put some of the blame on w. >> doug, great american historian, thank you. gene, the same exact true from pulitzer prize winning author. >> we don't know whether hillary clinton will run. an amazing decision. she could win this thing. we'll finish with milestone tonight with all americans, what a time, john glenn, how popular he was, 50 years today he went around the world three times. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. what's this? it's progresso's loaded potato with bacon.
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let me finish when i was growing up we got a lot of science from television. mr. wizard, who taught us chemistry and verner von braun who taught us physics. the main lesson we americans were first in everything, we were going to be the country to conquer space. we would start the conquest by putting little things called satellites in orbit around the earth. yes, that was how it was going to be. then came the terrible day in
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1957 when we awoke, americans to find the soviets had done it, there was a satellite, a big one going around the world. it had been launched in communists the people we were taught were not in the game. it mad us sad it undermined us made us think the come you mis were doing something we were trying to do but couldn't. it had to do with booster rockets, thrust, their rockets were bigger, stronger, better than our's. for five years, it went on like this. they sent a man in space, in orbit, and we would send one vanguard rocket up after another, only to watch it topple right there in front of us. barely off the launching pad. then came the first american successes in space, followed by this wonderous day 50 years ago today. on february 20th, 1962, john glenn became the first american to orbit the earth. circle egg ing e he'lling circling globe three times. john glenn recalled kennedy knew
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we were superior to the soviets and that is what we were there out to prove. glenn's space flight proved the nasa needed. one reason my flight got so much attention was we sort of turned the corner in public opinion at that point. in fact conquering space offered us an unprecedented thrill for the american people. suddenly as if extraordinary things were truly possible and yes, there was a time in the lives of some of us watching right now one of the extraordinary things today was quite ordinary. that we americans could all root for one thing together, it was us against the soviets for leadership in space, engineering, science, one of the great things about the early 1960s beside the thin ties and 50 mile hikes, was the sense we americans could do what we set out to do together. as the voice of mission control said back there "god speed